A candidate for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree must have abilities and skills in eight areas: observation; communication; motor; sensory; strength and mobility; visual integration; intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and behavioral and social. While the University is committed to complying with the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act, certain minimum technical standards must be present in all students seeking a health care degree. Reasonable accommodations will be provided when supported with appropriate documentation but in all cases, students must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. Students must comply with these technical standards in order to fulfill the terms of professional promise for academic promotion as defined in the Student Handbook.
1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises within the curriculum. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.
2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear, observe, and understand the English language in order to elicit information; examine patients; describe changes in mood, activity and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. They must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
3. Motor: Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide safe and effective physical therapy treatment to patients. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
4. Sensory: Since candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills, it would be necessary to thoroughly evaluate for candidacy individuals who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This would include individuals with significant previous burns, sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation and many malformations to the upper extremities. Students must be willing and able to touch and examine members of the same as well as the opposite gender.
5. Strength and Mobility: Physical therapy treatment often requires upright posture with sufficient lower extremity and body strength; therefore, individuals with significant limitations in these areas would be unlikely to succeed. Mobility to attend to emergency codes and to perform such maneuvers as CPR is also required.
6. Visual Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion and tissue texture changes, it is necessary to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration.
7. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
8. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and students must be able to work effectively as a member of a health care team; tolerate physically taxing and stressful workloads; adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the physical problems of many patients; and to be free of impairments due to substance abuse. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes. Students must be accepting and non-judgmental when caring for patients whose spiritual beliefs, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation differ from their background.